cover image Waking Gods: Book 2 of the Themis Files

Waking Gods: Book 2 of the Themis Files

Sylvain Neuvel. Del Rey, $28 (352) ISBN 978-1-101-88672-4

Neuvel’s sequel to Sleeping Giants, told through interviews, reports, emails, and other documents, shares the first volume’s successes and flaws. Earth has been gifted with a gigantic robot, Themis, now crewed by Capt. Kara Resnik and civilian consultant Vincent Couture. Its ostensible purpose is to protect the Earth from danger. Another robot appears in the center of London and turns hostile after being surrounded by the British military; in a scene reminiscent of The War of the Worlds, it wipes out half of the city. Using Themis, Resnik and Couture destroy the alien machine, though more through luck than skill. Soon a dozen more giant machines show up in great cities around the world and begin to systematically exterminate humans. Not even Themis would seem to have any hope of defeating them. The epistolary nature of the narrative sometimes comes across as artificial, and the slangy dialogue is repetitive and annoying. Still, this is an exciting adventure story, unusually presented, and should particularly appeal to readers of the first volume. (Apr.)